ECOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA CODE OF CONDUCT

All ESA events should be a safe, welcoming and respectful space.

The Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) values the diversity of views, expertise, opinions, backgrounds, and experiences reflected among ESA members and the broader ecology community. To this end, ESA is committed to providing a safe, productive and welcoming environment for all participants at ESA meetings and events. This enables an effective forum to consider and debate science-relevant and professional viewpoints in a fair and respectful manner. This Code of Conduct is important to promoting diversity and creating an inclusive, supportive and collaborative environment for everyone and aligns with ESA’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion policy.

All ESA meetings and events participants – including, but not limited to, delegates, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, ESA staff, members of the media, vendors, and service providers (hereinafter “participants”) – are expected to abide by this ESA Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct applies to activities including, but not restricted to, professional gatherings organized by ESA, such as conferences and workshops; social occasions organized by ESA; communications relating to ESA or with ESA members, such as presentations, messages, conversations (including on-line platforms) and communications relating to ESA conferences and events.

For any questions or feedback about this policy, or the dispute resolution process, please contact ESA at codeofconduct@ecolsoc.org.au or ph: 0409 279 068.

Expected Behaviour

All ESA members and/or participants are expected to:

  • treat all participants with kindness, respect and consideration, valuing a diversity of views and opinions (including those you may not share);
  • communicate openly, with respect for other participants, being mindful to critique ideas rather than individuals, using discretion to ensure respect is communicated;
  • refrain from demeaning, discriminatory or harassing behaviour and speech directed toward other participants;
  • be an active bystander, be mindful of your surroundings and your fellow participants, including alerting ESA staff or representatives if you notice a dangerous situation, unacceptable behaviour or someone in distress;
  • respect the rules and policies of meeting and event venues, accommodation, or any other venue associated with ESA meetings and events, including public spaces visited with fellow participants

Unacceptable Behaviour

Harassment includes speech or behaviour that is not welcome by others or is personally offensive. Behaviour that is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another – harassment intended in a joking manner can still constitute unacceptable behaviour.

In communications and/or performing activities associated with ESA, ESA does not tolerate harassment, bullying, intimidation, discrimination or any other form of unacceptable behaviour. Examples of unacceptable behaviour include, but are not limited to:

  • physical or verbal abuse of any participant;
  • exclusionary behaviour or unwelcome, discriminatory or offensive comments. This includes but is not limited to comments related to age, appearance or body size, employment status, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, individual lifestyle, marital status, national origin, physical or cognitive ability, political affiliation, pregnancy or potential pregnancy, sexual orientation, race or religion;
  • inappropriate or unwanted physical contact;
  • unwanted sexual attention;
  • use of sexual or discriminatory images in public spaces, social media or in presentations;
  • deliberate intimidation or stalking, or harassment;
  • harassing photography or recording, including taking photographs or recording of another individual’s oral presentation or poster where the presenter has withdrawn permission;
  • sustained disruption of talks or other events;
  • bullying behaviour, including using perceived superior status or rank to embarrass, belittle or humiliate;
  • retaliation for reporting unacceptable behaviour.

Immediate Serious Threat to Public Safety

Anyone experiencing or witnessing behaviour that constitutes an immediate or serious threat to public safety at any time should contact local law enforcement (by calling 000) and immediately notifying facility security.

Reporting Unacceptable Behaviour

If you are not in immediate danger but feel that you are the subject of unacceptable behaviour, have witnessed any such behaviour, or have other concerns, please notify an ESA staff member or representative as soon as possible. Appropriate action will be taken through ESA leadership. All reports will be treated seriously and responded to promptly.

To report incidents of any sort during or following an ESA event, please contact ESA at codeofconduct@ecolsoc.org.au. All reports will be taken seriously and treated confidentially. This does not preclude seeking third party medical support if deemed necessary.

Consequences

ESA members and participants are accountable for ensuring that their actions and behaviour align with the ESA Code of Conduct. Anyone requested to stop unacceptable behaviour is expected to comply immediately. If the behaviour continues:

  • ESA staff (or their representative) or venue security may take any immediate action deemed necessary and appropriate, including removal from the meeting or event without warning or refund;
  • the matter will be referred to the ESA Equity Working Group and ESA Board for consideration of further consequences, which may include prohibition from attending future meetings and events, or membership renewal;
  • the matter will be dealt with under ESA’s Equity and Diversity dispute resolution process (see below).

Dispute Resolution Process – Reporting

A breach of the ESA Code of Conduct can be reported by emailing or by verbal reporting to an ESA staff member or nominated Equity and Diversity mentor (see the Conference handbook or ESA website for details).

Dispute Resolution at an ESA Meeting or Event

When a complaint is received during an ESA meeting or event:

  • Immediate action will be taken to investigate the reported behaviour, including contact with both the complainant and nominated perpetrator and witnesses. Investigations will be undertaken within a fair and unbiased perspective.
  • Privacy of all parties will be protected where possible and as appropriate at all times, with consideration given to consent being given by the complainant.
  • Where necessary, immediate action will be taken to ensure the unsatisfactory behaviour ceases and ensure the safety and wellbeing of the complainant and other participants.
  • The matter will then be referred to the Equity and Diversity Working Group to determine appropriate and timely action.
  • Where appropriate, a Conflict and Dispute Resolution panel chaired by a member of the Equity and Diversity Working Group will be convened to investigate and make recommendations.
  • Recommended actions may include mediation, behaviour education, withdrawal of conference registration, cancellation of membership or other actions as deemed suitable to the individual case.
  • A de-identified report of all Code of Conduct breaches will be provided to the Conference Working Group and the ESA Board.

Dispute Resolution outside of an ESA Meeting or Event

  • When a complaint has been received it will be acknowledged within 24 hours and/or one working day, where possible.
  • The matter will be referred to the Equity and Diversity Working Group to determine appropriate and timely action.
  • Where appropriate, a Conflict and Dispute Resolution panel chaired by a member of the Equity and Diversity Working Group will be convened to investigate and make recommendations.
  • Recommended actions may include mediation, behaviour education, withdrawal of conference registration, cancellation of membership or other actions as deemed suitable to the individual case.
  • All matters will be treated confidentially.
  • The complainant will be kept informed of progress and outcomes.
  • A de-identified report of all Code of Conduct breaches will be provided to the Conference Working Group and the ESA Board.

SOCIETY FOR CONSERVATION BIOLOGY OCEANIA ANTI-DISCRIMINITATION, BULLYING AND HARASSMENT POLICY AND GRIEVANCE RESOLUTION PROCEDURE

Policy statement

The Society for Conservation Biology Oceania Section (SCBO) is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for its members to participate in Society events and activities that is free from all forms of unacceptable behaviour, discrimination, bullying and harassment.

SCBO (“the Society”) will not tolerate any discrimination, bullying, harassment or unacceptable behaviour directed at its members and attendees at Society events and activities, and appropriate action will be taken against individuals engaging in such behaviour.

Contact Officers serve as the first point of contact for any concerns relating to diversity, discrimination, bullying, or harassment. Any individual who has witnessed or believes they have been subject to unacceptable behaviour are encouraged to contact the SCBO Contact Officers by email.

Scope

This policy applies to all attendees at Society events and activities, including scientists, students, guests, staff, contractors, and exhibitors, participating in the scientific sessions, tours, and social events of any SCBO conference or event or SCBO sponsored or affiliated event.

Participants of SCBO events and activities are expected to follow the Code of Conduct for SCB Meetings, which should be read in conjunction with this Policy.

SCBO will endeavour to have at least two trained Contact Officers present at SCBO conferences who can be approached by any conference participants who have questions or concerns relating to diversity, discrimination, bullying or harassment. Contact details for SCBO Contact Officers will be provided on the conference website and announced at the conference.

Relevant legislation

Society for Conservation Biology – Oceania (SCBO) is registered as an Incorporated Body in New South Wales, Australia. We therefore operate under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) and Commonwealth anti-discrimination and harassment legislation.

Further information:

Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW: http://www.antidiscrimination.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/adb1_antidiscriminationlaw/adb1_antidiscriminationlaw.aspx
Australian Human Rights Commission: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/employers/good-practice-good-business-factsheets/quick-guide-australian-discrimination-laws

Definitions

UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR

Physical or verbal abuse of any SCBO member, attendee, speaker, volunteer, exhibitor, Society for Conservation Biology staff member, service provider or other meeting guest. Disruption of talks at an SCBO conference or event or SCBO sponsored or affiliated event.

DISCRIMINATION

Unlawful discrimination can occur when someone, or a group of people, is treated less favourably than another person or group on the basis of their sex; race, colour, ethnic background, descent or national identity; age; disability; sexual orientation; gender identity; religious belief; marital or relationship status; family responsibility; pregnancy; breastfeeding; or any other characteristic specified under NSW or Commonwealth anti-discrimination and human rights legislation.

BULLYING

Bullying is unreasonable and inappropriate behaviour that: is repeated, intimidates, offends, degrades, insults or humiliates an individual and is a risk to health and safety. This can be physical or psychological behaviour.

HARASSMENT

Unlawful harassment can occur when someone is made to feel intimidated, insulted or humiliated, because of their sex; race, colour, ethnic background, descent or national identity; age; disability; sexual orientation; gender identity; religious belief; marital or relationship status; family responsibility; pregnancy; breastfeeding; or any other characteristic specified under NSW or Commonwealth anti-discrimination and human rights legislation. The behaviours can be overt or subtle, verbal, non-verbal or physical.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Any unwanted, unwelcome or uninvited behaviour of a sexual nature that makes a person feel humiliated, intimidated or offended. It can involve physical contact, verbal remarks or non-verbal contact of a sexual nature.

Reporting an incident

Any individual who has witnessed unacceptable behaviour, or who believes that they have been subject to discrimination, harassment or bullying is encouraged to contact an SCBO Contact Officer by phone, email or in person.

All concerns relating to unacceptable behaviour, discrimination, harassment or bullying will be treated seriously and addressed promptly. Complainants will remain in control of the process, and an SCBO Contact Officer will outline options available to deal with the situation promptly, effectively, and in a manner that the complainant finds most suitable. Respondents to complaints will also have access to a trained Contact Officer who will be available to explain the Society’s policy and their rights and responsibilities.

Grievance resolution procedure

Any individual who has witnessed unacceptable behaviour, or who believes that they have been subject to discrimination, harassment or bullying is encouraged to contact an SCBO Contact Officer. Complainants are not required or expected to discuss the concern with the respondent.
An SCBO Contact Officer is available to meet with the complainant to discuss the issue in total confidence, and will provide factual information on steps to resolve the issue.

At this stage it may be possible to resolve the situation informally, should the complainant feel comfortable with approaching the respondent directly. Alternatively, an impartial third person (usually an SCBO Board member) may assist in conveying information between the complainant and respondent, and to help the parties find a mutually agreeable solution.

If an informal resolution is not possible or appropriate, the complainant may file a formal complaint with the SCBO Contact Officer. The complaint should be in writing, and include as much detail as possible, including times, dates and people involved.
The SCBO Contact Officer will ask the President of the SCBO to name an impartial investigator, usually an SCBO Board member. Any named investigator who believes they have a conflict of interest should not serve as an investigator.
The respondent will be informed of the complaint made against them by the investigator, and to be given the opportunity to respond to the evidence of the complainant and to bring their own evidence.
The respondent will also be provided access to an SCBO Contact Officer who can outline policy, procedures, rights and responsibilities.
The investigator will then attempt to mediate or conciliate between the two parties to determine if a mutual resolution can be achieved.
When the investigation is complete, the investigator should report the findings to the President of the SCBO or another SCBO Board member, as appropriate.

Consequences

SCBO takes any allegations of discrimination, harassment or bullying behaviour seriously and will in the first instance, seek to resolve the issue without an investigation or an attribution of fault. If this is not possible, the Society will take appropriate action against any individuals found to be engaging in behaviour prohibited by the Code of Conduct for SCB Meetings and by this Policy.

Should a formal investigation be necessary, the President of the SCBO will determine the most appropriate action for the situation, which may include (but not limited to):

  • Resolution of the issue without investigation or attribution of fault through advice and mediation
  • An apology and undertaking the behaviour will not occur again
  • Ejection from the SCBO conference or activity without refund of conference fees or expenses
  • Serious offenders may be subject to further disciplinary action, such as being banned from participating in future Society meetings or other activities. SCBO holds the right under s12 of its Constitution to suspend or expel a member from the Society if it has been found that they have acted in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the Society.

Criminal offences

Forms of discrimination, harassment and bullying can also constitute criminal offences. The SCBO Contact Officer, members of the SCBO Board or SCBO conference local organising committee will act immediately on reports of possible criminal offences.

Appeal & questions

In the event that an individual is dissatisfied with the results of an investigation, they may appeal to the President of the SCBO. Any questions regarding this policy should be directed to an SCBO Contact Officer or another member of the SCBO Board.

Image credit: Emily Kinchin